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Getting Started

by William Harris, M.D., VSH Board Member

Welcome to the Vegetarian Society of Hawaii. Documented benefits of a strict vegetarian (vegan) lifestyle include permanent reduction in weight, blood pressure, serum cholesterol, and blood sugar, as well as risk reduction for cardiovascular disease and half a dozen common forms of cancer. Allergies, arthritis, and asthma also respond to vegan nutrition, which means no meat, fish, chicken, dairy, eggs, or even honey.

We also suggest that you discontinue smoking and alcohol consumption, and that you begin, if you're not already on, a graded exercise program, possibly under the supervision of your physician or other health care provider.

Why be a vegan? Because all the essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, and vitamins are made by plants and micro-organisms, not by animals. Animal foods contain those items too, but most animals have roughly the same nutrient requirements as humans, so we get those essential nutrients second-hand, along with the unique ingredients of animal foods: the unwanted cholesterol and saturated fat.

How to be a vegan? The food change is easy since it's really quicker to fix vegan foods than the old recipes you're used to. For a more complete explanation of veganism I recommend :

"Becoming Raw" by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina, The Book Publishing Company, 2010. ISBN 9781570672385.

"The Complete Vegetarian", Ed: Peggy Carlson, MD, U of Illinois Press, 2009. ISBN-13 9780-252-03-251-3 (contributing writers Michael Klaper MD, Brenda Davis, and many others).

"Eat For Health: Lose Weight, Keep It Off, Look Younger, Live Longer", by Joel Fuhrman, MD, Gift of Health Press, 2008. (2 book set) ISBNs 0-9799667-2-8 and 0-9799667-3-6

"Plant-based Nutrition and Health" by Stephen Walsh, The Vegan Society, 2007. ISBN 0-907337-26--0.

"Program for Reversing Diabetes" by Neal D.Barnard, M.D., Rodale Press, 2007. ISBN-10: 1594868107

"Food Allergy Survival Guide" by Vesanto Melina, Jo Stepaniak and Diana Aronson, 2004, The Book Publishing Company. ISBN 9781570671630

"Raising Vegetarian Children" by Jo Stepaniak and Vesanto Melina,McGraw-Hill, 2003. ISBN 0-658-02155-9.

"The China Study" by T. Colin Campbell, BenBella Books 2004 ISBN 1-932100-38-5.

"The Scientific Basis of Vegetarianism" by William Harris M.D. No longer in print but available for free download, chapter by chapter in .pdf format at www.vegsource.com/harris/book_contents.htm

These books can also be found at the libraries and the health food stores. VSH has monthly meetings and food demonstrations, open to the public at the Ala Wai Golf Course Clubhouse or McCoy Pavilion, where you'll meet others contemplating the change.

VSH also presents "Vegetarian", a weekly Public Access TV program. Set your VCR to Olelo's Oahu (Cable Channel 52) on Wednesdays 11 AM where you'll eventually see all the VSH lectures of the past 10 years. There is also a talk radio show on Sundays 7:00 PM-9:00 PM on K108 (AM 1080) called "Nutrition and You" featuring Ruth Heidrich, Ph.D. and Terry Shintani, M.D. Call in to 524-1080. Upcoming VSH events are always announced on the show.

Vegan eating is very simple. One could consume only raw vegetables and fruit, and still meet all one's Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for essential nutrients, except for vitamin B12. But for those who like to cook there are many, many recipes in the books carried by VSH. In addition, here are some recipes gleaned from the VSH newsletter.

Chop Suey Vegan (604 Calories)

***************************

2 tbsp cornstarch

2 cloves garlic, grated

1 tsp raw ginger, grated

1 tbsp tamari sauce

1 tsp Red Star 6635+yeast (has vitamin B12)

? tsp Colman's mustard powder (optional)

5 fresh mushrooms

1 cup mung bean sprouts

1 cup Chinese pea pods

? cup broccoli flowerets

? cup diced onion

2 stalks celery, sliced obliquely

2 oz Mori-Nu 1% fat tofu (or Mrs. Cheng's tofu)

1 raw carrot, coarsely grated

1 cup long grain brown rice

Begin by boiling the rice. Gravy: in a second pot add a cup of cold water to the cornstarch, mix and slowly heat while stirring. When the gravy begins to thicken add the grated garlic, ginger, tamari, yeast flakes, and mustard powder. Continue to stir until a thick gravy results. Meanwhile place the remaining vegetable ingredients in a steam basket and cook 10-15 minutes until crispy but done. Transfer the steamed vegetables to a bowl, then pour on the gravy, mix with tongs, and serve over the rice. Serves three or four.

The Perfect Snack

(568 Calories)

****************************

8 oz (? jar) Pace Picante Sauce (Mild or Medium)

16 oz (1 can) Townhouse Refried Beans (Safeway)

1 tbsp Red Star 6635+ yeast

1 whole cucumber

Add the first three ingredients in the above order to the blender of your choice and mix thoroughly, then pour into any closed container. Cut the cucumber into thin 3"-4" strips and place in a ziplock bag. You can take this easy strip-dip snack to work and load up on healthy and delicious food (see Nutrient Analysis below) while your co-workers are inhaling Twinkies. Broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower are also great for dipping.

Pink Palace Special

(Georgie Yap, R.N.) 85 Calories

****************************

3 slices raw tomato

2 slices raw onion

3 leaves Romaine lettuce

? slice whole wheat pita bread

1 tsp fresh parsley

? tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp Red Star 6635+ yeast

Mix the Dijon mustard and Red Star 6635+ yeast and spread on one side of the pita pocket. Finely chop the tomato, onion, and parsley ( a Cuisinart Mini-Prep helps) and place in the pocket. Carefully remove the stems and ribs from the Romaine lettuce, then stuff the leaves into the pita pocket.

Sassy Salsa Sandwich

(Georgie Yap, R.N.) 217 Calories

********************************

2 slices Pumpernickel bread

3 Tbsp Rosarita Vegetarian Refried Beans

1 Tbsp Mild Pace Picante Salsa (to taste)

1 tsp raw grated carrot

1 handful alfalfa sprouts

1 tsp Red Star 6635+ yeast

Grate a 1 inch segment of carrot and add to the refried beans. Add the salsa and the Red Star yeast, and stir with a spoon (or put in a blender). Spread on bread, cover with sprouts and place second piece of bread on top.

Lentil Tacos

(Dick Allgire) 997 Calories

*********************************

1 cup diced onion

? cup diced celery

1 clove garlic

1 cup lentils

1 tbsp chili powder

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp oregano

2 cups veggie broth

2 tbsp raisins

1 cup salsa (see below)*

8 corn tortillas

lettuce, tomato garnish

Saute onions, garlic and celery in water (or broth or white wine) for five minutes, adding liquid as needed so it doesn't burn. Stir in the lentils, chili, cumin, oregano. Add a dash more liquid. Stir fry 1 minute. Add broth and raisins, cover, cook 20 minutes. Remove lid, add salsa, and cook 10 minutes. Heat tortillas and serve with lentils and garnish.

*For salsa:

2 cups tomato, chopped

? cup fresh cilantro

1/4 cup lime juice

1 red onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic

? tsp hot sauce

salt to taste

V-4 Juice

(Bill Harris, M.D.) 202 Calories

*********************************

2 raw tomatoes

4 large raw carrots

3 stalks raw celery

1 bunch fresh parsley

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp Red Star 6635+ yeast

Run the above ingredients through the juicer of your choice. Drink. Having drunk, see Nutrient Analysis below. Fresh vegetable juice is helpful in losing weight, since RDAs are always reached before Calorie requirements are met. For those too lazy to make their own juice, commercial low sodium V-8 juice is almost as nutritious and is one of the few truly healthful products widely available in a bottle.

And now for something NOT to eat (compare in Nutrient Analysis below)

A Typical Fast Food Meal

(853 Calories)

**********************************

1 Cheeseburger

1 milkshake

1 order of French fries

A Few Words on Vegan Nutrition

Most patients were referred to the Kaiser Vegetarian Lifestyle Clinic (VLC), from which this guide was taken, for weight loss or serum cholesterol reduction since a vegan diet contains very little saturated fat and no measurable amount of cholesterol.

Whole food vegan nutrition includes no refined sugar and no oil. The food recommendations are centered on fresh vegetables, particularly leafy greens, preferably raw, in whatever arrangement your tastebuds appreciate the most, with Calorie requirements filled in by starchy foods (potatoes, yams, etc.), grains (brown rice, pasta, etc.), and fresh fruit.

You can eat as much as you want as long as it's whole food (unrefined) and vegan. It is not necessary to measure or count out servings or amounts consumed. Your body has three sensing mechanisms that take care of that automatically. First, your stomach (capacity ~ one quart) has stretch receptors that send signals to the brain when the stomach is full. Second, your body will instruct you to eat until enough food energy is on board to run your metabolism, since that is the main reason for eating in the first place. Third, a complicated system of biochemical feedback systems detect the presence or absence of minerals, vitamins, essential fatty acids and essential amino acids (protein).

Nutrient Analysis

Of recipes on Pages 2-3. Done with Nutritionist IV software (based on an RDA of 2200 Calories/day).

RDA

Chop Suey

P-Snack

Pink Palace

Sassy Salsa

Tacos

V-4 Juice

 

Fast Food

Total Calories in recipe:

604

568

85

217

979

202

853

% of Calories from:

Carbohydrate

60%-80%

69%

67%

76%

69%

73%

80%

57%

Fat

10%-20%

12%

7%

7%

11%

11%

8%

29%

Protein

10%-20%

19%

26%

18%

20%

16%

13%

14%

SatietyIndex (Wt./Cal)

>1

1.2

1.8

1.3

1.2

1.1

3.2

0.56

Nutrient - Percent of (Recommended Daily Allowance [RDA] per Calorie ):

Calcium (Mg)

800

158%

151%

110%

100%

160%

365%

230%

Cholesterol (mg)

<300

0%

0%

0%

0%

0%

0%

| 245mg |

Fiber (gm)

22

286%

466%

231%

297%

341%

825%

30%

Folate (ug)

400

655%

1657%

903%

802%

682%

1791%

68%

Iron (mg)

18

346%

279%

186%

204%

274%

630%

96%

Magnesium (mg)

350

348%

404%

161%

279%

259%

465%

42%

Potassium (mg)

2000

336%

547%

370%

309%

258%

1209%

120%

Phosphorus (mg)

1200

303%

444%

227%

343%

288%

320%

114%

Riboflavin (mg)

1.6

1051%

2818%

1730%

2648%

101%

560%

42%

Thiamin (mg)

1.4

1259%

3620%

2186%

3094%

209%

754%

97%

Vitamin A (RE)

1000

704%

147%

280%

184%

229%

9213%

40%

Vitamin B12 (ug)

3

456%

1372%

784%

1274%

0%

114%

174%

Vitamin B6 (mg)

2.2

979%

2491%

1449%

2040%

236%

691%

50%

Vitamin E (mg)

10

125%

461%

128%

100%

212%

536%

18%

Vitamin C (mg)

60

1071%

756%

780%

156%

426%

3209%

58%

Zinc (mg)

15

164%

252%

113%

192%

139%

147%

55%

Above, each recipe is given a satiety index, which is the weight (roughly proportional to volume) of any given amount of the food, divided by its Calorie content. The higher the satiety index, the less likely is that food to cause weight gain.

Each recipe is also given a "Percent of (Recommended Daily Allowance [RDA] per Calorie)," which is the same as saying "If you ate nothing but multiples of this recipe until your entire day's Calorie needs (about 2200 Calories) were met, this is the percent of the RDA for each of these nutrients that you would get." For instance, the table shows that the RDA for calcium is 800 mg per day. The Chop Suey has a "Percent of (Recommended Daily Allowance [RDA] per Calorie)," (%RDA/Cal) of 158% for calcium, so if you were to eat nothing but Chop Suey (~ 2200 Calories in a day), you'd get 158% of 800 mg or 1.58 x 800 = 1264 mg calcium. No one will eat 2200 calories of any single recipe, but they will eat ~ 2200 Calories of something, and if everything eaten in a day meets or exceeds 100% of the RDA/Cal for each of the nutrients, then all RDAs are met automatically and without counting "servings" or measuring out food weights.

You can see that 2200 Calories of the fast food meal, (cheeseburger, french fries, and a shake), are short in fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin C, and zinc. This nutritional disaster will be countered when your body discovers that although Calorie requirements are already met, the satiety index is only .56 so there's plenty of room left in the stomach for more food, in an attempt to make up the nutrient shortfalls. But this means the excess Calories will be stored as fat.

You can also see that eating 2200 Calories of any combination of the 6 vegan recipes would automatically meet or exceed all RDAs except vitamin B12 (in the tacos). These vegan recipes are not unique and, in fact, are rather typical. They have high satiety indexes so your stomach is filled and all nutrient requirements are met before Calorie requirements are achieved. Your body then burns your fat stores to meet its energy needs.

That is why, by eating whole vegan food, at about 10%-20% of Calories from fat, and with adequate exercise, you can expect to lose about one pound a week indefinitely, without any nutrient deficiency (save B12 in those recipes not containing Red Star 6635+ yeast), without depriving yourself of food, and without any effort other than selecting your food carefully. Once you have demonstrated weight loss on this regimen you may be able to cautiously add back some fatty plant foods in their natural form (whole avocados, raw almonds, raw walnuts, raw sunflower and unhulled sesame seeds) that are nutritious, help satisfy fat cravings, and are documented to help lower cholesterol levels.

Amputating the Food Guide Pyramid

Refined sugar (empty Calories), Vegetable oil (100% fat), Meat, fish, poultry, eggs (cholesterol, saturated fat), Dairy ( cholesterol, fat, allergenic protein).

The Food Guide Trapezoid

Grains and starches are OK foods but when refined they release sugar rapidly, and raise insulin and triglyceride levels.

Base your diet on fresh vegetables, then fill in Calorie needs with fresh fruit, starches, and grains.

"Then God said, 'I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has seed in it. They will be yours for food...I give every green plant for food.' And it was so."

-Genesis 1:29

This biblical quote says nothing about dairy, eggs, fish, grain, meat, oil, poultry, or sugar. From the evolutionary standpoint the dietary advice comes out the same. Our remote primate ancestors evolved over 56 million years living in trees where the food supply was mostly fruit, leaves, and nuts. Most of our anatomy and physiology developed on these foods. Three million years ago our hominid ancestors descended to the ground and began adding meat to the diet as a survival strategy, but all the essential amino acids, fatty acids, and vitamins in the human diet are still synthesized by plants, not animals.

Milk was not a large part of the adult human diet until the agricultural revolution 12,000 years ago. Oils were never part of the diet until 5500 years ago and that culinary disaster known as "frying" first appeared in the English language 1100 AD . Refined sugar did not enter the diet until 400 years ago. From an evolutionary standpoint, these are short time periods and humans are poorly adapted to animal source food, vegetable oil, and refined sugar. When food is scarce, any food is better than no food at all, but when there is a plentiful and diverse supply of healthy plant foods, animal foods and refined foods are a disaster! Most of the degenerative diseases of our time are at least partly due to our departure from the diet on which we evolved, and the main thrust of the VSH is to put you back on that diet.

Reading the Labels

Perhaps the simplest food advice is, "If man made it, don't eat it." The food industry is unavoidably profit-driven, so if junk food sells that's what will be sold. Since many people don't care what they eat it, is essential that you learn to read food labels.

The really low fat foods, vegetables and fruits, carry no labels. Shoppers should assume that commercial "Low-Fat and "No-Fat" labels are lies until proven otherwise. As an example there is a brand of margarine, still on the market, which claims to be "No-Fat Margarine." However the "Nutrition Facts" on the reverse side show that there are 5 Calories in a serving and that all 5 Calories come from fat. Hence this "no-fat margarine" is actually 100% of Calories from fat. The serving size has been artfully adjusted so that slightly less than .5 gm of fat is present in a "serving". FDA rules require that the grams of fat be rounded off to the lowest half gram, in this case zero, whereupon the unscrupulous company claims that its product is "no fat." Foods which list hydrogenated fats or oil, lard, vegetable oil, diglycerides, or monoglycerides on the label should also be avoided; these substances are also 100% fat.

Other ingredients to avoid include casein and whey (both dairy proteins with a high potential for allergic reactions), alum (contains aluminum), artificial coloring, EDTA, calcium propionate, and honey (a simple non-vegan carbohydrate having only marginal advantage over refined sugar).

Dried pasta usually contains only durum semolina wheat and is a reasonably healthy food. Bread, another wheat product that has about the same nutrient value as pasta, is moist and will spoil rapidly before it can be sold. For this reason, commercial bakers add preservatives to lengthen the shelf life, plus a truly heroic list of salts, sweeteners, fats, dairy proteins such as whey and casein, honey, and other taste enhancers to lure customers to buy it before it spoilsin spite of the preservatives. However, some Pita bread and other commercial whole wheat breads occasionally pass the additives test.

How about Pesticides?

Pesticides, herbicides, and additives are omnipresent in the food supply, the result of an agri-chemical industry run amuck in the halls of congress. Most of these substances never before existed in nature so no biological system is adapted to them. The best way to reduce your intake is to follow the wholefood vegan lifestyle. Plant foods may contain some chemical residues, but the fatty tissues of animals have absorbed and concentrated them roughly ten-fold. Buying organically grown vegetables is a good way to further reduce exposure to chemical residue, but it's senseless to rely only on this strategy while still eating the high-fat, high-pesticide animal foods. For a more detailed account of this problem read: Steinman, David. Diet for a Poisoned Planet: How to Choose Safe Foods for You and Your Family. Ballantine Books. New York 1990. ISBN 0-345-37465-7.

How about Exercise?

Diet and exercise are the prime determinants of health, all other interventions are secondary. To be effective, exercise should make you sweat, raise your pulse rate, raise your respiratory rate, and transiently raise your blood pressure. While there are fancy devices and formulas to insure that all these things happen, the most important items are your feet, a well-padded pair of running shoes, and your own determination to set aside 15-60 minutes of your day to "suit-up" and go out and do it. The real objective is to develop an "exercise addiction" that will last for the rest of your life and become a part of your daily schedule.

One of the most vicious cycles in nature begins with the words, "I can't exercise because...." If the excuse is, for instance, "because I weigh too much, and it hurts," then one simply stores more fat, gets heavier, and the pain gets worse. All the cells in your body are dependent on the circulation of blood and lymph for the exchange of gases (oxygen, carbon dioxide), the supply of nutrients (amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals), and the removal of metabolic waste. Without exercise your circulatory system steadily deteriorates. Without circulation no tissue is properly nourished and no tissue can heal.

It's probably best to get up early enough to start the day with exercise. If you put it off until the end of the day, you may find a dozen excuses not to do it at all. If you have not exercised for many years, get back into it gradually.

Overuse injuries and accidental injuries will interfere from time to time. Therefore, one should have at least three exercise modes which can be used interchangeably. If your knees complain about too much running, switch to swimming or a stationary bicycle. If a sore develops and is painful in the water, go back to running. If the weather goes bad, you can walk or run up the stairwell in your building.

Walking, alternating with short jogs, is a good way to build your exercise reserve. If there is any question of your cardiovascular safety, better resume exercise under the instructions of your physician. If you compete, watch out for the play-to-win mentality, since high-acceleration sports injuries heal slowly at any age and the older you get, the slower they heal.

Exercise should include stretching, warmup, aerobics (e.g. running, biking, swimming), and resisted movement (e.g. weight lifting). How much and how intense is up to you and any coach or councillor you may pick as an advanced guide.

While weight lifting equipment can cost a bundle, there are two kinds of muscle training exercises that cost nothing:

Gravity-resisted exercise (e.g. pushups, chinups, situps, abdominal crunches.) Place a free hand on your belly when you do this one and see how it contracts your abdominal muscles without stressing your back).

Muscle-resisted exercise. This is just a matter of using the muscles and bones of one part of your body to push against the muscles and bones of another. Muscle training is essential to increase muscle strength. Increasing muscle strength is the best way to maintain or increase bone strength and bone density.

How About Supplements ?

A properly designed vegan diet meets the RDAs for all essential nutrients, save vitamin B12. A poorly designed diet of any kind should always be fixed by changing the food, not by taking pills. Nevertheless, in a dietary transition period, supplements act as a sort of insurance against nutritional error. These preparations, or similar ones found in health food stores, are worth your consideration:

A multi-vitamin-mineral which contains vitamin B12 (cobalamin).

Example: "Nature's Life Mega-Vita-Min." (or equivalent)

A calcium supplement (particularly for post-menopausal women)

Example: "Country Life Maxi-Cal Chelated Calcium" (or equivalent)

How About Miracle Foods?

There are no miracle foods. But the wholefood vegan lifestyle removes the entire category of foods that miraculously make you sick: refined foods and animal foods.

"Eat as wide a variety of plant foods in as unprocessed a form as possible."

-Susan Havala, R.D.

How About Salt?

Crystalline table salt (sodium chloride) is not required in a whole food vegan diet centered on vegetables. Although the RDA for sodium is set at 1100-3300 mg/day (1-2 tsp salt/day), the actual physiological requirement is less than 300 mg/day. If one were on a Macrobiotic diet of grains only, one could encounter a sodium deficiency, which is probably why salt is regarded as a necessity in that diet plan. However, some individuals are salt sensitive and will experience blood pressure elevation from added dietary salt. Almost all of us appreciate the taste of salt, but it should not be applied to the food until it arrives on the table. That way each of us can "salt to taste" without subjecting other salt-sensitive diners to an unwanted salt load.

While some authors have argued that crystalline salt is a dietary essential for all animals and humans, there are geographical areas in the world virtually devoid of salt deposits, but abundantly inhabited by animals who are getting their sodium from grasses and other green plants.

In short, table salt tastes good but don't overdo it, don't feed it to the salt-sensitive, and never regard it as a dietary essential, since if it were, it would be unique among minerals. All the others are obtained in adequate amount in foods.

How About Water?

"What is man but a way water has of getting about beyond the reach of rivers?"

-Claude Bernard

While vegan food naturally contains a large amount of water, it's not a bad idea to drink an additional 4-8 glasses a day, between meals and long before bedtime. This perks up cellular hydration, nutrition, and waste management and compensates for Hawaii's warm climate (which predisposes to kidney stones). It also increases blood flow through the kidneys, which may then reduce their output of some hormones which elevate blood pressure.

Hawaii has a cleaner water supply than the mainland but steam-distilled or filtered water is still the best. You needn't worry about losing out on minerals; even special spring waters have an insignificant mineral content compared with the recommended plant foods.

How About Ethics?

Some people seem to think that discussions of animal rights and ethics are hitting below the belt, somewhat like talking politics in a mess hall. However, if you're already a vegetarian or are thinking of becoming one, there's no longer a defensive rationalization standing in the way of your seeing the violence and cruelty involved in animal food production. So you might as well go the "whole hog" and read something like John Robbins' Diet for a New America. If you can become convinced that killing animals is fundamentally wrong, you'll be doing a favor not only to the animals but to yourself as well. Health vegetarians cheat like crazy, and every cheat is a step backward. However, those who see, as did George Bernard Shaw, that meat eating is "cannibalism with the heroic dish omitted" would no sooner have an occasional steak than occasionally bite into their next door neighbor.Dining Out

A simple way to experience vegan cooking is to dine out. Ethnic restaurants are a particularly good bet since many are almost vegan to begin with. However, it's best if you call ahead and ask if they can guarantee vegan food. Then specify in your order: "No chicken, dairy, eggs, fish, meat, beef broth, chicken broth, fish sauce, honey, or oyster sauce." Ask that your vegetables be steamed or stir-fried in water, not oil. Make it clear to your waiter that you are a strict vegetarian - a vegan.

Most Thai and Vietnamese restaurants have vegan selections on their menus, and many offer brown rice. Most Chinese restaurants will offer up whatever you request. You may also ask for reduced soy sauce, no monosodium glutamate (MSG), and no oil in the cooking. Your request can be honored because Chinese dishes are generally cooked to order.

Most Italian and many continental restaurants can fix pasta primavera. Vegans need to be wary of eggs in the noodles and dairy products in the salad dressing. You can also request no oil.

Many restaurants have baked potatoes and good salad bars. If you're asked what they can use to flavor the food, just smile and say, "garlic, ginger, herbs, lemon juice, mustard, tomato sauce, soy sauce, starch-based gravy, and vinegar."

Fast Food Fever

Here are some fast food options that appear to be almost OK. Bear in mind that the bread and buns are often contaminated by dairy products, hydrogenated fat, and preservatives. For the most part, these are the last dining spots for a vegan, but if social circumstances push you into these places, here are some things to try:

Burger King

Vegetarian Whopper: lettuce, tomato, pickle, sesame bun. Hold the mayonnaise.

Jack in the Box

Chicken fajita, hold the chicken, hold the cheese, use mustard instead of mayonnaise.

Subway

Veggie Delight sandwich. Hold the mayonnaise.

Taco Bell

Bean burrito, hold the meat, hold the cheese, add lots of lettuce and tomato.

Zippy's

Zippy's vegetarian chili (served over rice, or use it as a dip for vegetable strips. Zippy's nutritional data shows that there's actually good nutrition here)

Zippy's also has Boca Burgers but ask for lots of lettuce and tomato, hold the mayo, use mustard and ketchup instead, and remember: not even Zippy's know's what's in the bun.

How About Raw?

As of this writing there are dozens of websites hawking raw vegan diets with perhaps more enthusiasm than logic, but in my opinion they're substantially correct for two very important reasons. First of all the foods that can be eaten raw have enormously higher nutrient values than the foods that are usually cooked. You can see from this graph that

Calorie for Calorie, potatoes, pasta, rice, and wheat are no match for leafy greens and vegetables in general.

Secondly, and perhaps even more importantly, hidden in the depths of those uninteresting looking raw veggies you'll discover flavors that will finally make it possible for you to kick the salt habit.

A few processed ( but vegan and more or less healthy ) foods:

Here are a few foods whose labels indicate that they are free of the most disastrous ingredients. Some are fairly healthy but none of them are as nutritious as plain fruits, grains and vegetables. Some are high in plant fat. However, these foods offer familiar tastes and convenience and may give you ideas about more healthy things to eat. Most are available in health food stores (H), some in supermarkets (S), some in both (B). The truly fat ones are also marked (F).

Casbah brand Pilaf, Couscous, Tabouli, Tahini sauce (B)

Cascadian Farm pickles ( aluminum free) (H)

Cedarlane Unbleached Wheat Pita Bread (H)

De Boles rice pasta (for those intolerant of wheat) (H)

Down to Earth Vegetarian Soy Protein Powder (H)

Fantastic Foods Falafel (Vegetarian Mix) (B)

Garden Vegan burger (B)

Good Seasons Fat Free Dressing ( General Foods) (S)

Guiltless Gourmet baked corn tortilla chips (H)

Hain Chicken Flavored Gravy Mix ("Fat Free") (H)

Hain Vegetarian Brown Gravy Mix ("Fat Free") (H)

Loma Linda Big Franks (H)

Laura Scudder's Natural Peanut Butter (S+F),

Pace Picante Sauce (Salsa) (S)

Pasta Perfect Radian with Vegetables (H)

Puritan's Pride Pure Soy Protein Powder (H)

R.W. Knudson Very Veggie Vegetable Cocktail (H)

Rice Dream Organic Original Rice Milk (B)

Rosarita No Fat Zesty Salsa Refried Beans (B)

Rosarita Vegetarian Refried Beans (B)

San-J Tamari Soy Sauce ( high salt but no benzoate) (H)

Smart Deli Roast Turkey Style (Pareve) (H)

Soy Singles dairy-free soy cheese (H+F)

Spectrum Natural Spread (H+F)

Star Sour Dough Bread (S)

Tomato or V-8 juice (B)

Townhouse Vegetarian Refried Beans (S)

Vegan Original Boca Burgers (B)

Vegenaise soy mayonnaise (H+F)

VitaSoy Natural Soy Drink (H)

White Wave Turkey Style Sandwich Slices (H)

White Wave Dairyless Yoghurt (H)

Odds and Ends

Barlean's flaxseed oil (high in linolenic acid, the first of the omega-3 fatty acids (H+F)

Cafix instant hot drink (coffee substitute)

Emes Kosher-Jel (vegan gelatin)

Ener-G Egg Replacer (H)

Gayelord Hauser Vege-Sal ( vegetized seasoning salt) (H)

Travel Tips

Taking your own food supply will solve the dilemma of what to eat when there isn't anything to eat. You can carry pre-selected whole vegan food in a six-pack Rubbermaid Cooler (~ 8-1/2" x 6") with a Super-Ice Cold Pack (blue ice packet). Then a small plastic container with these items makes lunch at a roadside picnic stop a snap:

Small cutting board

Small serrated knifeSmall can opener

Tupperware keep-kapAssorted plastic forks and spoons

2-3 small tupperware containers with lids

ziplock bags

You can fend off the food fits by carrying simple things like the Perfect Snack (page 2), a bottle of V-8 juice, a few raw nuts, and a piece of fruit. On a trip you can refill most of the items from a super market or a health food store, and avoid the temptation to "cheat" that raw hunger brings.

Vegan Diet Questionnaire

A self-calculating vegan diet/exercise spreadsheet "Dietque5.wb1" (Quattro Pro) or "Dietque5.xls" (Excel) is available as a free download from http://www.vegsource.com/harris/download.htm

While this spreadsheet is not as accurate as a dietician's questionnaire, it is a lot quicker to fill out and can be used over and over again by just saving it to a new name (e.g "Mary.xls", "Pete.xls") each time it's used. Body Mass Index (BMI) is computed automatically from your weight in lbs. and height in inches. A running score is displayed as food and exercise data is input.
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Here's to your health!

-William Harris, M.D.








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